Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 2010 Book Club Selection: Reconciliation, Benazir Bhutto

Slain Former Pakistani Prime Minister offers vital message of hope & peace

When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, a crucial ray of light in the Islamic world was snuffed out.

Bhutto's party, the Pakistani People's Party, was on the verge of an electoral victory, and an opportunity to form the government after numerous efforts by General Pervez Musharrif to thwart that.

Reconciliation provided a vision of Islam that was needed vitally not only at the time of its publishing, but especially today.

If the central arguments of Bhutto's book -- that Islam actually bestows inalienable rights upon Muslims and non-Muslims alike, that Islam mandates democracy, and that Islam is mandated to be religiously inclusive -- can take firmer hold in the Muslim world, it could prove to be the "killer app" that defeats militant Islam on a global scale.

Bhutto's message seems to be needed just as much now, in the wake of failed terrorist attacks that have directed the eyes of reactionary elements toward Islam as a whole. An understanding that the violent political ideology followed by individuals such as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab does not represent Islam as a whole is need now as much as it ever has been.

Benazir Bhutto not only offers that message but, sadly, she also died for it.

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